It is one of the most natural tendencies of us humans to evaluate right from wrong. Some would argue that the ability to do so is part of the reason of living. Some may even call it an art to navigate the path of black and white, and all the shades of grey in between.
This is such a fundamental part of our being that we sometimes do it so automatically that we do not evaluate how we have come to our conclusion. We live in an age where we are bombarded with information on so many levels that we often accept what we are assimilating without taking the time to consider what we deem a reliable source, or what the intention of such source might be. These sources might be as “trustworthy” as our immediate family, or as unscrupulous as mass media advertising, or subtle as the opinions derived from our social fabric through mindless sharing.
With the explosion of social media, our community has evolved from a close-knit circle of friends to a global, borderless mass around the world. Opinions about right and wrong influence our opinions about law, religion, politics, and what is socially acceptable and what is not.
This is a double-edged sword.
The constant bombardment of all types of information can help us to cultivate respect for other cultures, religions and way of life. It can help us understand these components of human behaviour and can help us understand the intention behind beliefs and actions. We can gain so much more knowledge so much more easily, to grow personally and hone tolerance and evaluate ourselves.
Mindless assimilation can unfortunately negatively influence us to develop bias, judgement, fear and unnecessary spending. This is the aim of propaganda and dogma, and if we are not mindful about what we assimilate or not, we even become part of spreading of the poison without realising we are being used. Ignorance is not an excuse not to take responsibility.
When you are presented with news, social media posts and messages, consider the following before mindlessly accepting or forwarding information:
Is it fact, or just an opinion?
Personal opinions are often presented as hard facts. With the current pandemic, so many opinions and theories are being shared as facts, and most of it has no scientific basis.
What is the worst possible result of sharing this information?
Misinformation can have dire consequences, especially if it is being assimilated by people that are not being mindful. Imagine the worst possible outcome that this information can lead to in order to decide if it is appropriate. If you are not willing to take responsibility for what the worst possible outcome of the information, then rather not share it.
What is the best possible outcome of sharing this information?
Is there any good that can come from sharing the information? Will it inspire people and evoke a desire for self-improvement? Be careful that “warnings” might actually only spread fear, depression or misery.
Is it applicable to me or my community?
An earth destroying asteroid is on its way to earth! Since nobody has a spaceship to escape to another planet (that we know of), there is absolutely no way to avoid it. Consider allowing your community to live out their last couple of hours happily rather than waiting for the earth to explode while they are cowering in the basement.
Why was this information shared?
Most information has an agenda. Make sure that it is not a negative purpose such as trying to get people to spend their money on items they do not need. Be extra mindful that it is not terrorism or has an agenda of propaganda, dogma or even terrorism.
Does it promote any form of bias?
Xenophobia, racism, homophobia or any form of intolerance, dividing the gap between “me” and “them” does nobody any good.
What feeling does the information evoke?
The feeling that information evokes is a good aspect of evaluating it. Information that elicits fear or anger warrants a thorough evaluation, although information with a negative purpose can very well be packaged in such a way that it evokes feelings of excitement and humour.
Contribute to the vision of what you would like to experience in your world, by taking responsibility for what you share! Have a happy day!